First off, how is everything going? Are you happy with the outcome of Secrets of the World?
Justice Tripp: Everything is good. We're in europe right now with Terror, Born From Pain, and Stick To Your Guns. We have about a week left and then we come home and begin this 10 bands for 10 dollars tour of the US. "Secrets of the World" will be out August 4th. We are all very happy with the record. We put a lot of time into writing and i think it paid off.
Comparing it to your first songs, how do you think the sound has evolved?
Justice: I believe that our newest music is relevant to everything we've done before. It is definitely similar to songs recorded on our demo and "Stay Cold," with the addition of other influences that might not have stood out as much on earlier recordings like Stigmata, Stout, District 9, and Madball.
Where did you guys record, and how did that go? Does the band ever butt heads when it comes to the music?
Justice: We recorded at The Wild Arctic Studio with Dean Baltulonis, who recorded Stay Cold. We gave ourselves a lot more time to try a few new things in the studio and to be sure we weren't rushing anything. The whole process was great. We all agree that Dean was the best option for this record.
After the Stay Cold EP, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the band, especially on message boards. Were you ever worried that the hype would hurt you in the long-run or that you would have something to prove on your next release?
Justice: That's a good point. I do think that people expect us to do something crazy on this record. Like people expect either the best record imaginable or else it's trash. A lot of high expectations are based on what someone read about us or how much talk goes on about trapped under ice. If that's the case somebody might get let down. trapped under ice isn't recreating the wheel, just taking the sounds that we most like and putting them together in a fashion that people recognize as TUI. If you have expectations based off of our previous recordings, then people will be pleased. Based off of those standards I would say we have met expectation and out done our previous efforts. We can't back everything that other people say, but just continue to do things the best that we know how. With that said, I hope and believe people will like it.
As a broad question, what are your overall thoughts about the state of the hardcore community today? Is the scene thriving, or in need of a revival?
Justice: A lot of people might choose to disagree, but i think things are looking up. a few years ago i thought things were at a low point. While there were good bands, there wasn't a band that did for me what bands for the first few years I was getting involved with hardcore music. We started trapped under ice to give that to other people like us who shared that same opinion. There is tons of longer active bands right now that really do it for me. Bands like Terror, Madball, and Converge. While at the same time some of my favorite newer bands popped up in the last year or so; Naysayer, Bad Seed, Mindset, Brick and Backtrack. I wish that the general public, venues, and promoters had a better perception of hardcore. I feel like a lot of people on the "top" of the music industry don't respect a lot of hardcore bands because they have an idea that hardcore bands are trouble. While on the smaller, underground side of the spectrum you have promoters and such that think hardcore bands all have tons of money and are stable enough that they don't need any help. Promoters who think, "It's hardcore music, I don't need to put my neck on the line to pay bands," then walk off with more than all the bands combined. I've seen that shit plenty of times. However, like I said, I think things are looking up. This summer we have the 10 for 10 tour, which is a good thing for a lot of people. Hopefully it will be a chance to show the world and music industry that hardcore is about everything that we say it is. In 2009 we have a lot of DIY promoters who look out for and take care of bands the best they can. Those are the people that keep this shit alive. Shout out to Mike Riley of Pulling Teeth for showing me and a lot of other people in Baltimore how DIY shows should be done.
How has your hometown of Baltimore, Maryland influenced your music? Does Baltimore have a decent hardcore scene?
Justice: Baltimore does have a good hardcore scene. I guess people look for different things in a hardcore scene, so maybe not everyone would think of it the way I do. If you look at a hardcore show as a social event to meet girls and hook up, then it's definitely not the right place for you. Baltimore has a decent sized but not huge scene, but everyone involved is really involved. You see the same faces at almost all the shows. Whether you are seeing Stout at The Sidebar, or Ruiner at Ten Car Pile Up, you see a lot of the same people coming out and showing love and support. The city has had a lot of influence on TUI musically. One of our initial goals was to be a band that was obviously influenced by Next Step Up. I think that's become pretty obvious. Other than them, bands like Gut Instinct, Stout, Slumlords, and Harsh Truth have all had a big impact on our band.
What has been your favourite city to play so far and why? Justice: I really couldn't pick one city, but if I had to name some I would say Cleaveland, Cincinnati, Long Island, Richmond, LA(area), Atlanta, Montreal, Toronto, Quebec City. There are a ton more, but I feel like I'm getting carried away. Those all have thriving scenes. And people like to get wild. But that's just North America. I could name 10 cities in Europe that I would love to play once a month.
You guys have become known for the intensity of your lyrics. Why do you think it is that a lot of young people can relate to your songs?
Justice: It's flattering that people can relate to our lyrics. I think it's because I keep it as real as possible. I don't pretend to know everything that I don't. TUI isn't trying to sell an idea. The typical young person doesn't know who they are, or all the answers to the world and I think I'm a pretty typical confused young person and I write about those things. We don't write music about salvation, and the way you should live your life. With few exceptions of right and wrong, I don't really know shit. I'm a dumb kid. I don't have the answers. If you're looking for those things, you're going to have to look a lot deeper than a hardcore song.
Sound and Fury looks amazing this year. What do you think about the overall line-up this time around, and who are you most stoked to check out?
Justice: The line up is insane. It makes me wonder how the people running Sound and Fury manage to out-do themselves every year. I think it has a lot to do with the location because the West coast is an amazing place, where I think people have a greater appreciation for hard rock music in general…with no disrespect to all my fellow hardcore lovers of the East coast, who will be flying to Sound and Fury once again. Unfortunately Trapped Under Ice can only be there for one day, so I hope we get the chance to see Trash Talk, New Lows, Foundation, Bad Seed, Death Threat, Cold World, Ceremony, Downpresser, Mindset, Defeater, etc… all those bands in one day, that would be sweet.
What does it mean to you to play such a big show like this? Justice: It's awesome. I remember being young and hearing about big hardcore shows in other States. I would think to myself that it would be so cool just to go as far as New York to see a hardcore show. Now I'm so lucky as to be playing shows with Terror in Europe. It feels good that with the magnitude of Sound and Fury and all the bands playing that people care enough about Trapped Under Ice that they want us to be a part of it.
After Sound and Fury, what is going on with the band?
Justice: After Sound and Fury, Trapped Under Ice will be finishing up the remainder of the 10 bands for 10 dollars US tour. After that we go home for a while and chill out. We're planning for some weekends and smaller East coast/West coast tours before we go on some big trips that we are planning for, including Australia, Japan, and Europe.
Thanks so much for your time, and if there is anything else you want to add or let fans know about?
Justice: I want to let people know to keep updated on what Reaper Records is doing. Record labels play a key role in the future of hardcore music, and Reaper Records has an influence that I believe is in the right direction. Check out new releases by Naysayer, Death Threat, Terror, and more.